Cigarette Pack, Chelsea, with Yellow Free of Tax Stamp

To better understand this article, please read the main article about military “free of tax” issue.

Chelsea Cigarettes

This unopened pack of twenty Chelsea cigarettes was manufactured by the Larus & Brother Company, Incorporated, Richmond, Virginia at factory number 460, District of Virginia. The factory information and caution notice are printed on the left side of this pack.

Affixed across the top is a free of tax stamp with an unusual design which is still intact. The wording on the stamp contains a specific mention of the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii. Also notice the grayish colored inner packaging paper which is peculiar to cigarette packs manufactured from 1942 until 1945.

Notice the “PRE-WAR QUALITY” advertising slogan printed on the back of this cigarette pack. Chelsea probably started advertising with this slogan at the beginning of 1944 until 1945. This information is based through researching Chelsea cigarette packs with a blue internal revenue stamp affixed across the top and by WWII period magazine advertisements of Chelsea. The blue internal revenue stamp was used on cigarette packs manufactured for civilian consumption and the series number which is visible on this stamp can date such a pack.

The cheap cigarettes of Chelsea were very unpopular among the G.I.’s. One observer of the Quartermaster Corps or AES (both were under command of the ASF) wrote for example in a letter to the North Carolina senator Robert R. Reynolds and commanding general of the ASF Brehon B. Somervell: “This cigarette is forced issue, forced purchase; and it is so rotten the boys who write me say that no one can smoke them.”

Stamp Design

The stamp of this Chelsea cigarette pack is yellow in color and the design is based on a vertical layout. The text on the stamp is printed in red and surrounded by a red pattern of squares, which have a star “cut out”, and small stripes; perhaps the pattern is based on the American “Stars and Stripes” flag. The first bold part of this text is centered and the second part is aligned to both the left and right margins by adding extra space between the words and letters when necessary. The last line, however, is aligned to the left margin. The full text is literally retyped below.

CIGARETTES

MADE IN U. S. A.

F R E E   O F   T A X

FOR USE ONLY OF
U. S. MILITARY OR
NAVAL FORCES IN
A L A S K A,     A N D
HAWAII, OR FOR
USE OUTSIDE THE
JURISDICTION OF THE
INTERNAL REVENUE
LAWS OF THE UNITED
STATES. THIS PROD-
UCT IS ADMITTED FREE

OF DUTY.

Notice that the “CIGARETTES” word is not visible on the pictures because the stamp is partially folded inside the cellophane.

Condition

This cigarette pack is in mint condition; the cellophane is still present and intact.

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